Since the news broke early in July 2019 that Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire financier and registered sex offender, had been arrested for sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, there has been much speculation about what will happen to the now-disgraced hedge-fund manager and philanthropist who boasted connections to the rich, famous and royal.
When federal agents searched his mansion in New York following his arrest, a stash of photos of naked photos of underage-looking girls was found in a safe. He has already been denied bail, on the grounds that he was a flight risk and danger to the community and he could face up to 45 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.
These charges come more than 10 years after his previous conviction for solicited prostitution from a minor, after a 14-year-old girl said she was molested by Epstein at a mansion in Palm Beach. Epstein served just 13 months for the crime and was able to work out of his office six days a week. Alexander Acosta, then Miami’s federal prosecutor and now Trump’s labor secretary, oversaw the deal. He’s since resigned. According to the Miami Herald, who carried out an extensive investigation into the case, the deal also meant that FBI probe into other potential victims and suspects was shut down (despite a huge amount of evidence) and the deal was sealed so not even his victims could find out.
...The ‘Lolita Express’
Since he was charged on 8th July, more disturbing details have come out, as have allegations from further victims. Here’s what we know so far.
Epstein stands accused of molesting dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005. He is alleged to have enticed them to his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, paid them to massage him and then sexually assaulted them. He then used them as part of a ‘sex-trafficking network’ to procure him further victims, paying them a finder’s fee. One of his alleged victims, Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein, said she probably recruited another 70-80 underage girls for him.
The girls would be taken between his two homes on his private jet, also know as the ‘Lolita Express’, which came with padded floors and a bed, where those on board would have group sex.
But much of the abuse seems to have centred around Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands: his main place of residence that has been dubbed ‘paedophile island’. According to Fox News, Epstein allegedly kept a team of staff on the island that brought girls as young as 12 for his friends. Locals have even reported seeing girls arrive as recently as this year. For them, Epstein’s activities were no secret.
It’s Epstein’s friends (described as a ‘collection’ he liked to ‘invest in’) that continue to be the source of much of the speculation, as a roll call of the influential, that moves from presidents past to president current and Hollywood royalty to actual royalty, are mentioned in connection with him. In 2015, Gawker leaked a copy of Epstein’s little black book, which contained the names of everyone from Courtney Love and Alec Baldwin, to Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. The question many are asking is who else is complicit and, after Epstein, who’s next?
For starters, Acosta isn’t Epstein’s only connection to Trump. In 2002, in a piece for New York magazine, Trump said he’d known 'Jeff' for 15 years and that he was a 'terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.' In 2013, a woman filed a lawsuit against Trump, claiming she had been raped by him at one of Epstein’s sex parties in 1994 when she was only 13. Trump’s lawyers branded it a hoax. She later dropped the case. Unsurprisingly, Trump has tried to distance himself from Epstein, saying he was “not a fan” and that the two haven’t spoken in 15 years.
Bill Clinton was also quoted praising Epstein for his philanthropy in the same profile as Trump. Following the charges, his press secretary Angel Ureña released a statement on Twitter, saying Clinton ‘knows nothing about the terrible crimes,’ that he took only four trips on Epstein’s private jet, in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation and had two more meetings with him and that the pair haven’t spoken in years. But the flight logs for the ‘Lolita Express’ said something different, stating that Clinton had taken over 25 trips on the plane, including with a soft-core porn actress and people prosecutors believe helped procure underage girls for Epstein.
When it comes to his high profile friends, though, Prince Andrew is one that has drawn a lot of attention and criticism. One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Roberts has spoken about the men she met through Epstein, who she herself first met when working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. Prince Andrew was one of them. Describing herself as Epstein’s ‘personal sex slave' in an interview she did with Daily Mail, Roberts talked about being taken to meet the prince when she was underage and was then forced to have sexual relations with him on three separate occasions. She said she was paid $15,000 by Epstein for her services. In 2015, Buckingham Palace released a statement denying all of the allegations against Prince Andrew.
As more women come forward and further details about Epstein are released, we can only speculate about what we have yet to learn about the billionaire paedophile and how far the fall out from his very public downfall will reach. It looks like the time is finally up for Epstein. Who else?
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein premieres on Crime+Investigation with a double episode airing on Tuesday 25th August at 9pm. Parts three and four will be broadcast the following evening on Wednesday 26th August at 9pm.